Last week it was revealed that after the last game of the season (which cannot come soon enough for me) that Jerry Manuel will sit down with Omar Minaya along with Fred and Jeff Wilpon to discuss the future of the coach staff which consists of Howard Johnson (hitting coach), Dan Warthen (pitching coach), Luis Alicea (1B coach), Razor Shines (3B coach) and Sandy Alomar Sr. (bench coach). Word going around is that Howard Johnson’s job is safe which is not a surprise to me as the Wilpons love him and have kept him in the organization for many years since he has retired. Warthen’s job is also safe apparently. I can imagine that the coach most likely to get the axe would be Shines as he done a horrible job as the 3B coach.
When Omar Minaya signed onto to be the Mets General Manager the main condition was that he would have 100% autonomy on baseball decisions which has included hiring the coaches. He hired Willie Randolph’s coaches while he was manager and he had final word on Jerry’s coaches this season. However, since the ill-fated press conference in which he insulted the Daily News beat writer Adam Rubin it seems the Wilpons have lost faith in Omar Minaya and his ability to be a successful GM for this team. Since that press conference Omar has hardly been seen in public, hardly talking to the press, when he does have press conferences if questions start getting off topic Mets public relations guy Jay Horowitz abruptly steps in and ends the press conference. Last week the Mets released Ramon Pena and Luis Aguayo, two of Omar’s friends plus the firing of Tony B earlier this year shows that Omar does not have the autonomy he once had.
Jerry needs to step up in this meeting and tell the Wilpons that if he is going to have any success next season and beyond he needs to pick his own staff that he trusts who have no ties to the Wilpons or Omar only to Jerry. I personally believe that the entire staff including Jerry should be let go but that would only occur in a perfect world and as we know as Met fans we don’t live in a perfect world. Jerry will be back, we know that much. Howard Johnson has done a horrible job as the Mets hitting coach this season and since he took over as hitting coach in 2007. This isn’t me jumping on the bandwagon of firing Hojo, I wrote this piece earlier in the season that you can read here. I wrote that piece when it was “only April.” Howard Johnson advised David Wright earlier in the year to change his approach to the plate, I believe he is one of the reasons why David’s season at the plate has been so erratic and his power is done. Obviously by the end of May when he had 43 strikeout’s there was something wrong with David at the plate. He never once told Wright to go back to his old approach, he’s said it himself on interviews with SNY. He feels for David this new approach is the best. I never see HoJo after someone has a bad at bat talking to that guy in the dugout, going over the plate appearance, instead he sits in the dugout, chewing his gum or seeds or whatever nodding his head.
The pitchers have done a horrible job this season with Warthen as their coach. The walks are up, ERA’s are up as well. Pelfrey has regressed from the pitcher we saw towards the end of last year. Ollie was worse than ever. Clearly whatever Warthen is coaching is not working with this staff.
Razor Shines is a bad judge on sending guys home or keeping them on 3rd but he is reportedly Jerry’s friend, Jerry trusts him and I think he could make a good bench coach for Jerry next year. Bench coach is overlooked but I think he could actually help Jerry, especially at times when Jerry doesn’t play aggressively enough. Luis Alicea doesn’t seem to have any knocks on him, so we could keep him at first.
Jerry needs to realize the Wilpons are keeping Omar on because they refuse to pay him to stay home, he is the GM in name only right now in their eyes. Under Omar so far none of the 2 managers have had any chance to fully pick their staff, the guys who answer to them. This is Jerry’s chance to be the 1st manager under Omar to pick his staff. He needs to step up and say that this is his team, he has to work with these guys all season long, he needs to be able to trust that they will not have ulterior motives and that they are there to help him lead the Mets to a championship.